When investing in an outdoor living installation, consider features that offer multi-generational appeal. This will not only help your family enjoy the space more now, but will also add to your home’s resale value down the road. If you’re designing a family-friendly patio space specifically with kids in mind, it’s also important to think long term. Plan features that will entice them to spend more time outside now, but will still be appealing to you later once the nest is empty. Here are some inspirational backyard design ideas with those considerations in mind.
Backyard Interactive Fountains
An interactive fountain is a picturesque water feature that can double as a play area during warmer months. Small children will be enthralled for hours at at time running through the dancing waters. And in the off-season, or in later years, you’ll still enjoy listening to the soothing sounds and watching the playful spouts. These fountains can either be created with a water-recycling permeable paver system, or by adding a drain system to standard pavers.
Firepits and Outdoor Fireplaces
Nothing offers multi-generational appeal like a fire feature. The fabulous thing about a fire pit or outdoor fireplace is that it will actually entice multiple generations to spend time together. A backyard fire tears down generational barriers and allows everyone to enjoy each other’s company while listening to the crackle, watching the flames, roasting marshmallows and telling stories — all while creating new stories to be told later.
Garden Walls and Seat Walls
A garden wall offers the multi-functional ability to serve as a retaining wall, seating space or a decorative component to your outdoor spaces. It can be a spot for landing G.I. Joe’s helicopter, lining up Barbies for a modeling show, or just hanging out with a friend to tell secrets (that last one works for any age). You can also use landscape walls to build a raised garden bed that can either house science fair experiments, herbs and veggies for farm-to-table dinners, or elegant gladiolas.
Outdoor Kitchens with Multiple Cooking Surfaces
As the kids get older, if you want your house to be the one where all their friends come to hang out, be aware that adolescents and teens feed like a plague of locusts. You’re going to need multiple cooking surfaces to feed the masses. And you’re going to prefer they hang out outside, which is MUCH easier to clean before or after a gathering. Honestly, isn’t that why leaf blowers were invented?
Outdoor Bar Top Dining
When designing an outdoor kitchen, a bar top dining area is a must — and you can never have too much seating space. Everyone wants to sit near the cook to visit during food prep. Plus, kids love to eat at a bar and let their little legs dangle. And adults love to sit at the bar to watch the game. That’s why sports bars exist, so why not just have one at home where you can watch what YOU want.
Patio Chalk Art
Kids (and some grownups) can entertain themselves for hours with a box of chalk and a concrete surface. And with a simple spray of water, the canvas is ready for the next artist. Smooth-faced pavers work best for drawing, and modular styles like Lafitt® Grana Slab can offer natural boxes for housing separate creations…or opportunities to color outside the lines. Patio pavers with textured surfaces can also be fun for creating colorful, abstract chalk designs.
Multi-Zoned Outdoor Living Areas
Whether you typically host adult gatherings, family get-togethers, or kid paloozas, having multiple entertainment zones is a must. This allows for the natural creation of different conversation areas, or even separate play areas. The moms can visit together in one zone while the kids play with blocks in another. Or one zone can be for cinephiles to discuss the latest twist in the Marvel universe, while elsewhere a group of oenophiles can discuss the intricate flavors of their latest Pinot Noir discovery.